Plans to put IRA arms beyond use

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The Independent Online

An IRA representative has proposed a method for putting guns completely and verifiably beyond use, General John de Chastelain claimed today.

He has told the British and Irish Governments that the proposal met with the Decommissioning Commission's remit in accordance with the Governments' scheme and regulations.

General de Chastelain said in a statement: "Based on our discussions with the IRA representative, we believe that this proposal initiates a process that will put IRA arms completely and verifiably beyond use."

The general's latest report came today as London and Dublin waited for the pro–Agreement parties to respond to their package of proposals aimed at ending the deadlock threatening the future of the peace process.

It gave no precise details of the method, but his assessment that the proposal initiated a process that the Provisionals would put their guns completely and vertifably beyond use is bound to heighten the pressure on David Trimble's Ulster Unionists.

They have demanded the IRA begin emptying their arms dumps.

MP Jeffrey Donaldson said: "We will want to know that any proposals on decommissioning fully comply with the legislation in that the weapons must be rendered permanently usable and unavailable."